Dr Doug Somerville, chair of the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel, has welcomed Western Australian researcher, Dr Rob Manning and commercial beekeeper, Neil Bingley to the Advisory Panel. The pair were appointed to the Advisory Panel following a competitive application and assessment process with AgriFutures Australia and industry representatives.
“We’re pleased to have Dr Manning and Neil Bingley join us with their unique skills, knowledge and expertise,” said Dr Somerville.
“Dr Manning has a career spanning three decades in honey bee research and apiarist Neil Bingley is a long-time industry leader.”
AgriFutures Australia Manager, Research Annelies McGaw said the Advisory Panel had recently held its first “virtual” meeting welcoming the new members.
“Rob and Neil have both started in their roles and they’ve been introduced to the AgriFutures Australia family,” said Ms McGaw.
“But given current conditions we might have to wait a bit longer though before we can all catch up in person.”
The Advisory Panel positions became available following the end of the extended terms of Ecologist Professor, Saul Cunningham and commercial beekeeper, James Kershaw.
Dr Manning, an independent consultant and former research officer for the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, said the role is an exciting one.
“I started beekeeping when I was a foundation student at Murdoch University (Perth, WA), one of the mature-aged students in my year at the time had been a commercial beekeeper. If it wasn’t for him, I would never have had the 27 year beekeeping-research career,” said Dr Manning.
Adding: “My research background is topically honey bee wide and not confined to any one thing in particular. However, I am keen to explore the nutrition side of honey bees, especially following drought, fire and the use of artificial feeds. As well as the independent testing and rating of commercial foodstuffs.”
“I am also keen to see the Advisory Panel consider further research into pollination where honey bees can improve food production in Australia,” said Dr Manning.
Apiarist Neil Bingley works with his brother, David and son, Brett in managing 2,000 hives across the South Eastern quarter of New South Wales which occasionally extends into Victoria.
“I think it’s very important industry sees a tangible benefit to the research work being done. I hope to provide a commercial beekeepers perspective to the Advisory Panel and will be voicing the industry’s need for clear practical outcomes,” said Neil Bingley.
Mr Bingley, who’s been a professional beekeeper since 1980 following in the steps of his father, said he was also looking forward to helping the industry recover from drought, fires and the global pandemic.
“As a commercial beekeeper we are always looking for ways that lead to on-farm innovation, so I am really keen to share my experiences and to hear about the latest in research, development and extension and how that will help beekeepers across Australia.”
Dr Manning and Mr Bingley have joined the Advisory Panel along long serving members Dr Doug Somerville (Chair), Danny Le Feurve (Deputy Chair), Tiffane Bates, Dr Diana Leemon, Sam Malfroy and Ashley Zamek.
Dr Manning is also the recipient of a number of awards including the Goodacre Memorial Award, the Best Innovation or Invention Award (WA Government) and the Inventors Award (Karragullen Field Day).
Neil Bingley has extensive involvement in the beekeeping industry as President and Executive of the NSW Apiarsts’ Association (NSWAA) and NSWAA’s Southern Tableland’s branch. Neil Bingley has also been an Executive Member of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and is a recipient of the Keith Mcllvride Memorial Award 2014.
For more information: www.agrifutures.com.au/rural-industries/honey-bee-pollination/